Friday, 11 November 2011

Yasmin Kianfar Guest Blogger for The Browns Blog

Yasmin Kianfar, one of our designers is combining her laborious days designing her AW12 collection, with her reporter skills. Changing the sketch book and the needles, for a couple of days a week to be a guest blogger for The Browns Blog.

Sharing her daily life, a bit of her working desk, mood boards, and collaborating with friends. 

A bit of her inspiration pictures.

As an example, the illustration that Andy Bumpus, one of our talented Fashion Week illustrator, made inspired by her designs. 

Also, how inspiring is the illustration of Maude, journalist extraordinaire - named as a  "cult creation"by  Vogue (September issue), wearing one of her pieces by David Longshaw, as well, part of VFS family.

 Visit the blog to read more about her pieces and more interesting entries from Browns here, for example the Christmas lights in central London. 


‘Not some run of the mill shopping centre. It’s a living, fertile community packed with talent, innovation and attitude that puts creativity and fashion back where they belong on the street’ -Boxpark

When the economy hits hard times, creativity is desperately needed in retailers to provide new and innovative ways for people to shop. Pop-up shops are one of the results of this. A wonderful, imaginative concept that, in essence, gives any (ambitious) Tom, Dick and Harry a chance to open their own shop.

Retail revolutionary Roger Wade (the man behind Boxfresh and fashion brand consultancy Brands Incorporated) has taken this concept to a whole new level. He is dreaming big. Forget pop-up shops, this man’s making a pop-up mall!

This inventive idea is to be located in the creative epicenter of East London, opposite the infamous Shoreditch house and within walking distance of the new station. A location certain to draw a lot of attention.

The shops are to be slotted inside shipping containers, creating minimal, unique and low cost ‘Box shops’.  The pop-up aspect of this mini retail adventure is the mobility that the shipping containers possess; in theory you could take them on tour and have them pop up all around the world!

These boxes are aimed at smaller brands and creative organisations that can’t afford to fit into the high street’s square holes, providing new designers with a creative outlet that won’t break the bank. 

Wade understands the importance of new talent and is pushing this by offering local creative brands and organizations preferential rates.
…any retailer that we think are doing something a little bit different’ says Wade.

With over 60 shops (all now fully let!) Boxpark is almost ready to go, although no names are confirmed as of yet. Promised are a range of designer brands, bookshops, footwear, bike shops and many many more...
No definite date has been set on the website, just 'Xmas 2011' so watch this space…or box?

Beth Gallagher

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Vogue and Matches’ Competition For The Next Budding Fashion Designer

With the likes of fashion superstars Christopher Kane and Isabel Marant fantastically displayed on the rails at Matches, it would be any aspiring fashion designer's dream for their pieces to sit alongside them. Well that dream could well become a reality since Matches has teamed up with none other than Vogue Magazine in search of just that!

The ‘Design a Dress Competition’ is calling for participants to create a dress out of recycled paper, whether it be a newspaper, notepaper, wrapping paper, chip shop paper. Ok, I made that last one up, but you get the idea. 

A Little Inspiration- Recycled Newspaper Dress by Gary Harvey
Once you’ve created your recycled wonder, simply submit a picture of it on the British Vogue Facebook Page. You’ll need to call in a few favours from your friends too, as the 10 most voted for (i.e the one with the most facebook likes) between December 1 and 7 will then make it onto Vogue’s shortlist which will be showcased on during Online Fashion Week from December 5th to the 9th. 
Once they’ve been announced, an expert judging panel, including Livia Firth, Ruth Chapman and the team from MATCHES.COM, VOGUE.COM Editor Dolly Jones and sustainable fashion consultant Jocelyn Whipple, will choose their favourite. That lucky winner will then see their dress manufactured and sold alongside Matches’ own label Freda during S/S12. 
So next time you see the Metro man on your daily commute, take one from him. Or better yet, take his whole pile! I guarantee you he will be more than happy to help.
Good Luck!

Sarah Potter- Editor

BLOW... Presents Press Day

Liberum Arbitrium 
In his collection, designer Shinsuke Mitsuoka, combines the couture influences of his base in Paris, with the individuality and creative flair associated with London.  Translated as “free will”, Liberum Arbitrium seems to be a gothic homage to a futuristic, empowered woman.  His use of leather and sheer creates a paradox in theme, but not in tone; the Shinsuke Mitsuoka woman, is a woman to be feared, but also, a woman to be loved.

t lipop 
Although based in menswear, Tom Lipop always manages to innovate an androgyny within his work.  His materials are unconventional - some being almost aboriginal - and yet he adapts them to work within the demographic of the industry.  His collection was contemporary, modern, and conceptual; and yet, although it would seem impossible, still effortlessly wearable.  

Zyanya Keizer 
Think black. Think structure. Think darkly alluring. Think Zyanya Keizer.  Highlighting the ambiguity between what is ‘art’, and what is ‘fashion’, Zyanya created a collection that oozes adventure, ethereal quality, and enticing imagination.  At first glance, her collection seems harsh - darkly sartorial - and yet on the cut of each piece - emphasising the human figure behind it - accentuates the soft beauty underlying each piece. 

Claudia Ligari 
By contrast... Think white. Think loose draping.  Think subtle femininity.  Think Claudia Ligari. A breath of simple fresh air, amidst the bustling chaos of the fashion industry, Ligari’s collection is clean, understated, and yet deeply beautiful.  Her use of sheers and hammered silks enable her to drape the material loosely, while enabling it to fall perfectly on the body.  A perfect example of the how nudes, and flesh tones can speak for themselves.

Eleanor Amoroso 
Based on Japanese wall hangings, Amoroso work has already achieved recognition on the cover of Volt Magazine; not only for it’s beauty and elegance, but also for the effort that she goes to creating it - each tassel is hand stitched onto the garment, described as ‘a commemoration of the forgotten art of craftsmanship”. We can’t help but think it has paid off. 

Abi Gurney-Read

BLOW PR Press Day

BLOW PR is renowned for having on board some of the best talent in the fashion industry. They pride themselves on their in-depth knowledge and continually see successful results with their clientbase. They are also home to Blow Presents... a platform for emerging and original talent, in which they support innovative designers, placing them at the forefront of the industry. So, we popped along to their press day to see what they had to offer for next season.
Alpana and Neeraj
Demonstrating the sartorial beauty that can be created when combining juxtaposed elements, Alpana and Neeraj’s collection showcased themes of the extra-terrestrial - using fibre glass boning - perfectly amalgamated with an ethereal elegance - cascading drapes of material in subtle pastel shades.


Georgia Hardinge 
Winner of our A/W ’11 Merit Award, Georgia Hardinge is already a firm favourite, and this season is no exception.  Despite their monochromatic palette, her collection exudes excitement and movement; a celebration of the female form, without being ostentatiously exposing.  There is a contrast between severe lines, and smooth silhouettes; while all the time maintaining an effortless grace.  

Flik Hall
Her collection, “The Ghost in the Machine” settled on a dark, yet sophisticated theme; using leathers, heavier fabrics and shadow-like tones.  It’s perfection comes from it’s understated sexual allure, where each piece contours to the body perfectly, yet is far from restrictive to the wearer. 

Soojin Lee
Based on ‘The Secret Garden’, Soojin Lee collection captures the innocence, and excitement of youth.  Bright colours and decadent florals are juxtaposed with a sophisticated cut; encouraging our decidedly fashion-forward inner child to be released.

BJØRG (Jewellery)
The jewellery of Scandinavian designer, Bjørg, has an incredible power of making you want to ditch the day job, and run off to become a warrior princess.  There is a natural rawness to each piece; whether it be her horse-hair choker, or her bone-like metal cuffs.  I wasn’t blessed with the red hair of Boudicca, but with Bjørg’s stunning creations, I could definitely work her aesthetic.  

J Smith Esquire
After winning a cacophony of awards, including the British Fashion Council’s “Young Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2010, it seems that Justin - aka “J Smith” - can do no wrong; and his collection was a perfect demonstration of why this is.  Intricate, extravagant, and with stunning craftsmanship, each piece seemed more reminiscent of a sculpture than a product of millinery.  J Smith Esquire once again merges the distinction between art and fashion, with seemingly effortless ease.  

Underground (Footwear)
Edgy, rebellious, ‘authentic British Rock n Roll’ brand, Underground, stuck to their roots with this collection of footwear and still remains a firm favourite with individual fashion-enthusiasts, bringing the identity of Brick Lane to Greater London.  It frequents a regular spot on the catwalks, but fear not they are not an unattainable exclusive.  To get you want your own piece of original Punk Chic from the high-street, they are stocked in Topshop - time for a quick trip to Oxford Street! 

Abi Gurney-Read

VFS AW12 Applications Deadline Reminder

Applications are coming thick and fast and there are only a few days to go until the deadline!

We are closing applications on Monday 14th November 6.00 pm

Make sure your application form is filled in with all the information and ready to go.

If you have not requested one yet, contact

Visit our webpage for more information.

Or have a look at our application blog announcement with all the details here.

VFS Launches New Series of Mentoring Events

Vauxhall Fashion Scout is launching a new series of Mentoring Events!

Running in partnership with Beach Blanket Babylon and supported by the Mayor of London, these events are free to fashion designers and feature experts from across the industry.

The new series is kicking off on the topic of Production, featuring guest speakers from Gucci Group, ELSBC and DeAtelier Ltd and will feature the issues involved in taking designs to production. Covering all aspects of manufacturing, our panel of industry professionals will provide advice on sourcing the best manufacturer for your collection locally and overseas, how to optimize relationships with production units, communicating with factories, sampling, quality and sustainability control and negotiating costing, payments and delivery.

Monday 14th November 7pm
Beach Blanket Babylon, Shoreditch

Guest speakers for the evening will include:

Burack Cakmak: Head of Sustainable Production, Gucci Group Ltd.
With over thirteen years business experience, Burack is currently the Director of Corporate Sustainability at Gucci Group. He is responsible for the implementation of sustainable production, working to develop initiatives for business ethics, human rights and environmental stewardship.

Paul Williams: Business Counsellor for East London Small Business Centre
With an extensive history in garment manufacturing, Paul became Managing Director for the design and manufacturing of Next, Debenhams and House of Fraser, running three factories simultaneously. Paul then spent two years as a consultant, auditing and setting up factories in China and Turkey for various clients before becoming an advisor at ELSBC. ELSBC is an agency designed to provide financial and business advice and support to start up fashion labels in the UK. 

Burhan Bilici: Managing Director De´ Atelier Ltd/Sourgrape

With a family background in manufacturing, Burhan has 15 years experience in the production business, having worked for companies including Karen Millen, Whistles and All Saints. Burack now runs his own production company with a portfolio that includes Hussein Chalayan, Erdem, Peter Pilotto, Jonathan Saunders, Mary Katrantzou, Roksanda Ilincic, Richard Nicoll, Roland Mouret, Eudon Choi & House of Holland.

The Vauxhall Fashion Scout Mentoring programme is designed to provide tailored advice to designers across all industry areas. We actively work to promote and develop both established and the next generation of talent to ensure that designers build sustainable and successful businesses. 

The VFS Mentoring programme is only possible due to the kind support of Beach Blanket Babylon and the Mayor of London.

Spaces are strictly limited to one representative per designer label.  
Priority is given to Vauxhall Fashion Scout designers.
RSVP essential to
Look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Dazed & Confused; Making It Up As We Go Along

There has been a buzz amongst the fashion world pending the opening of the Dazed & Confused exhibition; Making It Up As We Go Along, at Somerset House. The iconic magazine, founded in 1991 by writer Jefferson Hack and renowned photographer Rankin celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year.

Kate Moss 

The exhibition contains highlights from the book of the same name; Making It Up As We Go Along, and charts the visual history of the magazine across three rooms from the nineties up to the present day. The publication has been known for it's experimental (and somewhat controversial) style and it's representation of counterculture. Every picture on display tells a story and what is clear about Dazed & Confused is that unlike a lot of other publications, the subject is very often not the sole focus, but rather a part of a bigger social or political ideology.

Jubilee: photography by Paulo Sutch, styling by Katy England. Oct 2000.

The early years of Dazed & Confused reflect the Britpop era when bands like Pulp and Blur dominated the charts, and indeed, magazines. The chosen settings of the photography at this time were domestic and very typically British. Certain figures are repeatedly used, highlighting their popularity at the time - Chloe Sevigny, Thom Yorke, Mila Jovovich and, of course, a stunning young Kate Moss.

Chloe Sevigny's Front Cover

The noughties room has much more colour, and less of a solely British feel, with the concentration moving from just young people representing culture, to the inclusion of elderly models and children as focuses also.
The Dazed & Confused of today is very minimalist in contrast to the last two decades with a more muted use of colour. Very often attention is only on the subject photographed and generally it is highlighted in an unusual way against a plain backdrop making it very understand yet completely beautiful and interesting.

Within the exhibition, two smaller courtyard rooms are dedicated to the late Alexander McQueen’s involvement with Dazed & Confused. There is a room solely devoted to the 1996 ‘Fashion-Able’ shoot which represented disability in a way that no other magazine had ever attempted, both then and now. The images in this room highlight McQueen’s ability in powerful social commentary and also his passion for seeking innovative ways to get a message across.

Dazed & Confused pushes the boundaries of art, culture and photography and the exhibition is a stunning culmination of their work, both as a platform and jumping off point for such exciting talent, and a place to nurture and hone creativity.

Dazed & Confused: Making It Up As We Go Along runs at Somerset house until the 29th January. Admission is free.

Sarah Goodwin

Keeping Us Entertained In The Office...

Is David Longshaw's brilliant article 'Hats, Headpieces and Hedgehogs' on which includes some of his iconic illustration work!


It's kept us extremely entertained indeed today at VFS office, well... apart from all the meetings, sending emails, receiving them, scouting for new designers, and generally the daily work of preparing London Fashion Week February 2012.

Ok, ok, we will only unveil the end of the story created by David, because we can assure you, that it will make you read the beginning:

“Nooooooooooooo- Chloe that’s not an edible lobster!!!!”


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

TRACEPublicity Press Event

Last Friday, Fashion Scout popped along to TRACEPublicity’s Press Event to rifle through some of their gorgeous designer’s new S/S 12 collections armed with a glass of complimentary wine in our hands.
TRACEPublicity was established by Rob Davies and Lian Hirst and has some seriously impressive testimonials from journalists, stylists and designers alike, cementing them firmly in place amongst some of the best PR companies in London.

Showing at the event was;
Maria Francesca Pepe.
Creating jewellery that is both avant-garde yet completely wearable, Maria Francesca Pepe has a firm following which includes Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Florence Welch. 

Georgia Hardinge.
A Vauxhall Fashion Scout ‘Merit Award’ winner, Hardinge creates beautifully feminine garments and has been featured in the likes of Vogue and other major publications.

H by Harris.
Originally studying Interior Architecture and Design, Harris Elliott turned his hand to design when, after being disappointed by the lack of practical yet stylish laptop cases for men, he decided to create his own. 

Katie Rowland.
Inspired by the female form, multiple award winning jewellery designer Katie Rowland’s new collection is, quite frankly, stunning. Using gold and semi precious stones to create a little bit of luxury for the modern woman.

Yasmin Kianfar.
Central St Martin’s Graduate Yasmin Kianfar designs with such a passion for sensual beauty, she wishes to produce garments that have an iconic, timeless appeal and that the women of today will want to wear time and time again. 


Sarah Potter- Editor

Monday, 7 November 2011

Singai Shoniwa wearing Malene Oddershede Bach

Image courtesy of Dazed & Confused Facebook Page

Singer Singai Shoniwa of the Noisettes was spotted by our contributor Sarah Goodwin wearing none other than Malene Oddershede Bach at the Dazed & Confused Anniversary party on 3 November at the W Hotel, Leicester Square. Fabulous choice!


Guest Speaker;

Emma Davidson Business & Finance Director of Denza International
Denza was founded in 1988 by Graduate Fashion Week co-founder Vanessa Denza. It is now one of the leading international fashion recruitment agencies which handles candidates’ careers from graduate to creative director level.

How Recruitment Agencies Work

  • Recruitment Consultancies generally make sure that they have the best people on their books compared to all other agencies.
  • They will try to find the most suitable work for you and the most suitable candidates for their clients so everyone is happy
  • You can register with as many agencies as you like and there are different agencies for different areas of the market  whether it be high street or premium/luxury so do some research and find the right ones for you.

The Recruitment Process

  • You will need to show a CV plus 4 work examples. CV should be in Word format, not PDF and it should be straight forward, follow a standard structure and not be too “jazzy” or creative
  • The 4 work examples should include a variety of the following: mood boards, hand-drawn work, CAD work and finished work and should include personal projects as this shows them your personality. You can also include work you’ve done for other designers in your portfolio.
  • It is crucial that you have a portfolio and maintain it throughout your career no matter what level .
  • A face-to-face meeting is a must. The meeting will last approximately an hour. The agent will want to know about you, your work and your personality.  
Rates of Pay

  • How much you get paid depends on your existing experience. There are unpaid work experience or internships out there to allow you to get the necessary skills. For more experienced, expect between £17,000 - £24,000 per annum
  • A Recruitment Agency won’t cost you. The client pays them a percentage of your salary as a fee for the service. This doesn’t affect your salary at all.

Types of Jobs

  • Pattern cutting pays very well. Anywhere from £25 p/h up to £45 p/h for 5 hours a day
  • Stick to jobs in the industry. For example, you could work as part of a sales team in the showroom of a fashion house; this would teach you vital skills you will need when you want to establish your own brand. Production and business skills are also valuable to learn.
  • Build up industry skills and contacts by working in positions that you can learn or benefit from. For example, working in a fabric shop might get you a great discount.
Sarah Goodwin

VFS Mentoring Event Review- SALES & PRICING

Guest speakers;

Philip Start Director at START London.

Philip Start is the Director and Co-Owner of START London, an emporium of 3 branches filled with emerging designer brands, based in the heart of up-and-coming Shoreditch.  In 2008, Philip launched his own eponymous menswear label, Mr Start, specialising in formal menswear; truly “the definition of Shoreditch Luxury”.

Laura Jean PR/Marketing at START London.
Responsible for Promotion, Marketing and Press at START London, Laura Jean was the perfect mentor to provide invaluable advice on the business-side of branding, sales, press, and pricing.

  • The current instability of the economy requires you to be even more meticulous with your market research; be aware that your customer may be less-willing to spend as much as in previous years, so price accordingly. 
  • Create a pricing strategy and stick to it.  Remember that price is an aspect of your brand, so don’t be tempted to cost something sky-high for the sake of it; you’ll price yourself out of the market.  Try to align yourself with an established designer who shares a similar aesthetic to you, and take influence from their business strategy, but don’t mirror them exactly. They are established and can afford to charge a greater premium.
  • Make savings by spending time and researching around for affordable-yet-quality fabrics. This can be invaluable when starting out as a new designer and don’t be afraid to use overseas suppliers.
  • Retail pricing is relative to an outlet; when pitching to buyer, instead of estimating how much your piece will retail for, have a reasonably definitive idea of your wholesale price

Marketing yourself/your stock

  • Present potential buyers with a pre-collection, including less expensive examples of your work that reflect a similar aesthetic to your final product.  Within this collection, broaden your appeal and scope by creating multiple entry points such as scarves.
  • Maintain a familiar relationship with potential or current buyers; always keeping them abreast of your product with photos and price lists.  Approach a buyer with plenty of time before your target season; if a season is imminent, or has already started, a buyer will have already compiled a group of designers they are interested in and therefore be unwilling to take on any more.
  • If you are approached by an internet store or stockist, particularly if it’s in the process of establishing itself, be aware that their primary aim is to source risk-free items.  When money hasn’t exchanged hands, the urgency or incentive for them to market your product is lost.  Rather than waiting for such companies to approach you, it is more valuable to focus your efforts on outlets who respect your aesthetic and will represent your brand.
  • Direct networking and self-promotion is always effective; however, if a respected, or influential, individual is championing your work, others are guaranteed to take note and in turn expand your profile in the industry.

Abigail Gurney-Read